John Galt, top executive at Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd., said a more-focused Husky is well-positioned to withstand a tough market for new-press sales.
Husky (Booth S36009) is demonstrating high-speed closure molding on a new HyCAP machine this week at NPE2009. Husky also is expanding its offerings in hot runners, production monitoring and preventative maintenance.
Earlier this year, Husky formally got out of making big-tonnage presses for automotive and other large-part molding, to concentrate only on smaller presses for packaging, historically its strongest area.
Galt said Husky has maintained its investment spending during the economic downturn, refocusing it into technology for packaging and medical products.
Galt, president and CEO, said Husky had fiscal 2008 sales of $1.2 billion, which marked the company's third consecutive year of profitable growth.
At a Monday news conference, Galt said Husky is facing the new reality for plastics machinery: Fewer companies are buying new capital equipment.
About half of the booth is really talking to how our customers can maximize the value of their current investments. What this industry has typically been characterized by is investment based on added capacity, added demand for plastic parts, he said.
Of course, in many parts of the world today, we're not seeing a growth in the demand for plastic parts. What our customers need is to get better efficiency out of the assets that they have.
Husky has been the leader on high-speed presses to mold PET preforms, so it's only natural that the company expand into a closure press, said Jeff MacDonald, vice president of marketing.
We've really taken a page out of our PET systems playbook and developed a dedicated machine for the closure market, MacDonald said in a news conference held before NPE.
The HyCap press at Husky's booth, which has a clamping force of 300 tons, is running a 72-cavity mold making closures for water bottles at a cycle time of less than 2.5 seconds. The shorter, lighter-weight caps weigh 0.98 gram.
Husky said that cycle time is a significant improvement over the industry standard of 3.4-4 seconds on a 1.6-gram closure.
Husky designed the HyCap as an integrated system for tight-tolerance molding with faster clamp cycles, features to cut cooling time and tighter integration of hot-runner control.
A lot of the focus was on the entire melt stream to condition and deliver the melt to each cavity of the mold, MacDonald said.
On the HyCap, the company also will demonstrate a beta version of a new semi-automated approach to color change.
Husky is offering the HyCap in clamping forces of 248-550 tons.
In another packaging application, Husky is molding PET preforms on a HyPET. Like the HyCap press, the HyPET is a 300-ton press equipped with a 72-cavity mold. Cycle time is 5.5 seconds.
In an exhibit right next to Husky's, high-speed robot maker CBW Automation (Booth S32031) is doing in-mold labeling of a polypropylene salsa container on a Husky HyPAC press.
MacDonald said IML can enhance the barrier properties of food packaging.
There are label technologies that, combined with the right manufacturing approach to applying that label, can improve the barrier layer very effectively and extend the shelf life of that product, MacDonald said.
Galt said Husky is designing technology based around specific customer parts. It All Starts With the Part is Husky's theme for NPE2009. Future machine designs will not fit any industry norm, he said.
We really believe the next generation of improvements in technology will come from looking at the part first and the application first and simply adapting the technology even if it doesn't fit the guise of the traditional injection molding process around the goal of maximizing total return on investment, Galt said.
At its NPE2009 booth, Husky is:
* Launching the Altanium Neo2 hot-runner temperature controller, designed for fewer zones from two to 24 zones. Husky has packaged the Neo2 features normally found on high-end temperature controllers, such as a large color touch screen, the ability to store up to 24 mold setups internally and support external storage via a USB key, automatically creating custom control for each zone and the ability to quickly make corrections.
* Doubling the scope of its quick-ship Pronto line of hot runners, by now offering more than 100 manifold layouts. Husky has expanded nozzle options, including Ultra 350, 500 and 750 nozzles. Hot-tip and valve-gate options are available for all three nozzles. Pronto now offers significantly increased flexibility of plate sizes and pitch spacing. MacDonald said customers wanted Husky to offer Pronto for more molding applications.
* Showing UltraSync, which actuates the valve stem for hot runners using a plate, instead of a conventional valve-gate system that fires at different times. This synchronized action eliminates variability, MacDonald said.
* Introducing Shotscope NX, a real-time process and production monitoring system that helps molders characterize and report on statistics on each machine, and over the entire plant. Improvements for the new NX version include an enhanced user interface, and Web access to the data.
* Launching the Pro-Act maintenance program that helps keep injection presses running at peak efficiency, over time. Husky offers a standard version of Pro-Act, or company technicians can customize it to specific customer needs.
MacDonald said Husky also is promoting its expertise in factory planning.
We talk to customers about the parts and challenges of getting it to the market, at the best cost. We're not only talking about tie-bar spacing and tonnage range, he said.
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